Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith - Being an Examination of the Evidences of Infidelity
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Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith - Being an Examination of the Evidences of Infidelity

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith, by Robert Patterson This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith  Being an Examination of the Evidences of Infidelity Author: Robert Patterson Release Date: October 17, 2006 [EBook #19566] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FABLES OF INFIDELITY AND ***
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FABLES OF INFIDELITY
AND
FACTS OFFAITH: BEING AN EXAMINATION OF THE EVIDENCES OF INFIDELITY.
BY REV. ROBERT PATTERSON, D. D.
REVISED AND ENLARGED. CINCINNATI: WESTERN TRACT SOCIETY.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by WESTERN TRACT SOCIETY, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.
Stereotyped by OGDEN, CAMPBELL & CO., 176 Elm St., Cincinnati.
CONTENTS. CHAPTER I. Did the World Make Itself? Eternity of Matter. Disproved by its Composite Nature. Disproved by its Motion. Evolution only a big Perpetual Motion Humbug. Work of a Designer in the structure of the Eye. The Eye-Maker sees over a wide Field and far. The Eye-Maker sees Perfectly.  CHAPTER II. Was Your Mother a Monkey? The Divine Fact of Evolution Quite Different from the Atheistic Theory. State the Question Sharply—Why? Darwin's Answer. The Ancestral Monkey, Fish, Squirt. Natural Selection. Intended to Exclude God.  1.The History of the Theory. Indian; Phœnician; Greek; Popish; La Place's Theory; The Vestiges of Creation. Herbert Spencer's Contradictory Theory. The Evolutionists' Hell. Spontaneous Generation—two Theories; the Conflicting Theories of Progress; Tremaux; Lamarck; the Climatal; Darwin's; Huxley's; Parson's; Mivart's; Hyatt's; Cope's; Wallace's; the Gods; Denounced by the Princes of Science. Agassiz's Deliverance Against it. Imperfection of the Theory Eked out. Huxley's Protoplasm. Tyndall's Potency of Life in Matter. Buchner's Matter and Force. Lubbock's Origin of Civilization. Consequences of the Brutal Origin of Man. Propagandism of Atheism.  2.The Theory Illogical and Incoherent. Darwin Admits Insufficiency of Proof.
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Useless as an Explanation of Nature. Self-Contradictory;e. g., Protoplasm. Wallace's Self-Contradictions. Incoherency of the Denial of Design with the Assertion of Progress. Failure of Alleged Facts to Sustain the Theory. Does not Account for the Origin of Anything. Wild Assumptions Made by Darwin. Erroneous Assumption of the Tendency of Natural Selection to Improve Breeds. Assumption of Infinite Possibility of Progress in Finite Creatures.  3.An Unfounded Theory. No Evidence of the Facts Possible. None Ever Alleged, save Gulliver's. Domestication Disproves Transmutation—Horses; Pigeons; Dogs. The Egyptian Monuments. The Mummied Animals. The Geological Record. The Limits of Geological Time.  4.Embryology. Testimony of Scientists:  1. Embryology Only Analogical.  2. Embryosnotall Alike.  3. Four Distinct Plans of Structure.  4. Germs Always True to the Breed.  5.Gradations of Species. Lamarck's Statement. Birth Descent not Inferable from Gradation. No such Imperceptible Blending in Nature. The Fact of the Present Existence of Distinct Species. Sterility of Hybrids. Geological Species Distinct. The Intermediate Forms not Found. The Gradation Does not Begin with the Lowest Forms. Four Kingdoms from the Beginning. The New Species Began with the Giants. The Gaps Fatal to the Theory. The Abyss Between Death and Life. The Gulf Between the Plant and the Animal. The Gaps Between Species Which will not Breed Together. The Gaps Between Air Breathers and Water Breathers, &c. The Great Gulf Between the Brute and the Man. Natural Selection Could not Have Deprived a Monkey of Hair. Nor Have Given a Human Brain. The Brain-Worker Contravenes Natural Selection at Every Step. Civilization the Contradiction of Natural Selection. Morality and Religion the Direct Contraries of Natural Selection. Tendency Immoral, Degrading, and Atheistic.  CHAPTER III. Is God Everybody, and Everybody God? Pantheism Described. An Antiquated Hindooism. A Jesuitical Atheism. Grossly Immoral. A Practical Atheism.  CHAPTER IV. Have We Any Need of the Bible? Civilization and the Bible. Revelation Not Impossible. The Mythical Theory. The Inner Light. Many Ignorant of God. Heathen Morality—Plato's. Infidel Morality—Paine's.  CHAPTER V. Who Wrote the New Testament? The Bible Not Just Like Any Other Book. Two Modes of Investigation. Did the Council of Nice Make the Bible? The Mythical Theory. The Evidence of Celsus. The Fragment Hypothesis. The Bank Signature Book. Could the New Testament be Corrupted?  CHAPTER VI. Is the Gospel Fact or Fable? The Nature of Historical Evidence; Letters; Monuments. Contemporary Letters of Peter, Pliny and John. Prove the Existence of Churches. And Their Worship, Holiness, and Sufferings.  CHAPTER VII. Can We Believe Christ and His Apostles? The Gospel a Unit; Must Take or Refuse it All. Apostles' Testimony Circumstantial. Witnesses Numerous and Independent. Confirm Their Testimony with Their Blood.  CHAPTER VIII. Prophecy, Political—Napoleon's—Wrong. Presidential Candidates. Draper's Dogma of Youth and Decrepitude of Nations. Statesmen Prophets. General Claim for All Genius. Instances of Secular Prediction:  Cayotte's of the French Revolution.  The Oracles of Apollo.  Vettius Valens' Twelve Vultures.  Spencer's of the Disruption of the American Union.  Saint Malachi's Prophecies.  Mohammed's Prophecies.  Seneca's of the Discovery of America.  Dante's of the Reformation.  Plato's of Shakespeare. Symbolical Language of Prophecy. Anybody may Predict Downfall of Nations. An Awful Truth if it be True. But Bible Predictions Circumstantial—Egypt; Babylon; Nineveh; Judea. Predict Life and Resurrection. The Arabs; Jews; Seven Churches; Messiah.  CHAPTER IX. Moses and the Prophets, God the Author of the Bible. Every Other Book Inspired? Connection of Bible History and Morality. Hume's Sophism. Miracles Being Violations of Laws of Nature, Contrary to an Unalterable Experience. No Testimony can Reach to the Supernatural. Records of Facts Not Judged by Your Notions. Rationalistic Explanation of the Miracles. Bible Account of Creation Unscientific. Antiquity of Man.
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The Anachronisms of the Pentateuch. Bishop Colenso's Blunders:  The Universality of the Deluge.  Joshua Causing the Sun to Stand Still.  Cain's Wife.  Increase of Jacob's Family in Egypt.  The Number of the First-Born.  The Fourth Generation.  The Bishop's Blunders in Camp Life.  Sterility of the Wilderness.  Population of the Promised Land. Modern Discoveries in Bible Lands. Egyptian Monuments of Joseph. Assyrian Ethnology and Genesis, Chaps. x. and xi. Sennacherib's Conquest of Palestine. Belshazzar's Kingship. The Moabitic Inscriptions, and Omri and Ahab. The Samaritan Pentateuch. The Character of the Books—Austere. Variety of Writers and Unity of Plan. Contained the Surveys, and the Laws of the Nation. Introduced New and Republican Usages. Moses' Law in Advance of Modern Social Science. Testimony of the Jewish Nation. Testimony of Christ. The Lost Books. The Law Abolished by the Gospel. The Imperfect Morality of Old Testament. Polygamy, Slavery, and Divorce. The Education of the World a Gradual Process. The Imprecations of Scripture.  CHAPTER X. Infidelity Among the Stars, Scientific Objections to the Bible. The Infinity and Self-Existence of the Universe. Disproved by  Its Evident Limits.  Its Composite Materials.  Its Steady Loss of Heat. Buffon's Explosion of Planets. The Nebular Theories. The Fiction of Homogeneous Matter. The Contradictory Theories. The Perpetual Motion Machine. Contrary to Facts of Astronomy. Contradicted by Astronomers. Impossibility of any Cosmogony.  CHAPTER XI. Daylight Before Sunrise, Infidel Objections to Genesis. The Hindoo Chronology. The Egyptian Chronology. The Bible Age of the Earth. The Solid Firmament. Light Before the Sun.  CHAPTER XII. Telescopic Views of Scripture, The Source of the Water of the Deluge. The Stars Fighting Against Sisera. The Astronomers of the Great Pyramid. The Grand Motion of the Sun. The Formation of Dew. The Multitude of the Stars. The Descent of the Heavenly City.  CHAPTER XIII. Science or Faith? Must Faith Fade Before Science? Scientists as Partial as Other People. Have no Such Certainty as is Claimed.  1.Mathematical Errors. The Infinite Half Inch, Etc. The Doctrine of Chances. No Mathematical Figures in Nature. The French Metric System. The Lowell Turbine Wheel.  2.Errors of Astronomy. Kant's Predictions; Le Verrier's. Herschel's Enumeration of Errors. Sun's Distance; Other Measurements. The Moon's Structure and Influence. La Place's Proposed Improvement. The Sun's Structure, Heat, Etc. The Sizes, Distances, and Densities of the Planets. Errors About the Nebulæ. Errors About Comets. The Cosmical Ether. The Cold of Infinite Space. From This Chaos Springs the Theory of Development.  3.Errors of Geology. NoFactof Geology Anti-Biblical. All Anti-Biblical Theories Based on anIf. No Geological Measure ofTime. All Calculations of Time by Geologists, which Have Been Tested, Have Proved Erroneous—the Danish Bogs; the Swiss Lake Villager; Horner's Nile Pottery; the Raised Beaches of Scotland; Lyell's Blunder in the Delta of the Mississippi; Sir Wm. Thompson's Exposure of the Absurdity of the Evolutionists' Demands for Time. Conflicting Geological Theories—the Wernerian, Huttonian, and Diluvian Theories; the Catastrophists and Progressionists; Eleven Theories of Earthquakes; Nine Theories of Mountains; False Geology of America; Scotland Kicked About Too.  4.Errors of Zoology. Lamarck's Vestiges; Tremaux; Darwin's Contradictions; Huxley; Mivart, and Wallace. Blunders of the French Academy, Denouncing Quinine, Vaccination, Lightning Rods, and Steam Engines. Uncertainty of Science Increases in Human Concerns. Second-hand Science Founded on Somebody's Say So.  5.All Science Founded on Faith. Reason Also Based on Faith. This Life Depends on Faith. We Demand Truths of which Science is Ignorant. All Our Chief Concerns in the Domain of Faith. Religion the Most Experimental of the Sciences. The Only Science which can Make You Happy. Try for Yourself. PREFACE. This is not so much a volume upon the Evidences of Christianity, as an examination of the Evidences of Infidelity. When the Infidel tells us that Christianity is false, and asks us to reject it, he is bound of course to rovide us with somethin better and truer instead; under enalt of bein considered a knave tr in to
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swindle us out of our birthright, and laughed at as a fool, for imagining that he could persuade mankind to live and die without religion. Suppose he had proved to the world's satisfaction that all religion is a hoax, and all men professing it are liars, how does that comfort me in my hour of sorrow? Scoffing will not sustain a man in his solitude, when he has nobody to scoff at; and disbelief is only a bottomless tub, which will not float me across the dark river. If Infidels intend to convert the world, they must give us some positive system of truth which we can believe, and venerate, and trust. A glimmering idea of this necessity seems lately to have dawned upon some of them. It is quite possible that they have also felt the want of something for their own souls to believe; for an Infidel has a soul, a poor, hungry, starved soul, just like other men. At any rate, having grown tired of pelting the Church with the dirtballs of Voltaire and Paine, they begin to acknowledge that it is, after all, an institution; and that the Bible is an influential book, both popular and useful in its way. Mankind, it seems, will have a Church and a Bible of some sort; why not go to work and make a Church and a Bible of their own? Accordingly they have gone to work, and in a very short time have prepared a variety of ungodly religions, so various that the worldly-minded man who can not be suited with one to his taste must be very hard to please. Discordant and contradictory in their positive statements, they are agreed only in negatives; denying the God of the Bible, the resurrection of the dead, and judgment to come. Nevertheless each discoverer or constructor presents his system to the world with great confidence, large claims to superior benevolence, vast pretensions to learning and science, and no little cant about duty and piety. Wonderful to tell, some of them are very fond of clothing their ungodliness in the language of Scripture. No pains are spared to secure the wide spread of these notions. Prominent Infidels are invited to deliver courses of scientific lectures, in which the science is made the medium of conveying the Infidelity. Scientific books, novels, magazines, daily newspapers, and common school books, are all enlisted in the work. The disciples of Infidelity are numerous and zealous. It would be hard to find a factory, boarding-house, steamboat or hotel where twelve persons are employed, without an Infidel; and harder still to find an Infidel who will not use his influence to poison his associates. These systems are well adapted to the depraved tastes of the age. The business man, whose whole soul is set on money-making and spending, is right glad to meet the Secularist, who will prove to him on scientific principles, that a man is much profited by gaining the whole world, even at the risk of his soul, if he has such a thing. The young and ill-instructed professor of Christianity, whose longings for forbidden joys are strong, has a natural kindliness toward nationalism, which befogs the serene light of God's holy law, and gives the directing power to his own inner liking. The sentimental young lady, who would recoil from the grossness of the Deist, is attracted by the poetry of Pantheism. Infidelity has had, in consequence, a degree of success very little suspected by simple-minded pastors and parents, and which is often discovered too late for remedy. This book is written to expose thefollyof some of these novel systems of Infidelity—leaving others to show their wickedness. It may surprise some who would glory in being esteemed fiends, to learn that they are only fools. If they should be awakened now to a sense of the absurdities which they cherish as philosophy, it might save them from awaking another day to the shame and everlasting contempt of the universe. I have not taken up all the cavils of Infidelity. Their name is Legion. Nor have I troubled my readers with any which they are not likely to hear. Leaving the sleeping dogs to lie, I have noticed only such as I have known to bark and bite in my own neighborhood, and know to be rife here in the West. They are stated, as nearly as possible, in the words in which I have heard them in public debate, or in private conversation with gentlemen of Infidel principles. I have made no references to books or writers on that side, save to such as I am assured were the sources of their sentiments. In such cases I have named and quoted the authors. Where no such quotations are noticed it will be understood that I am responsible for the fairness with which I have represented the opinions which are examined. It is not my design to fight men of straw. Every historical or scientific fact adduced in support of the arguments here used is confirmed by reference to the proper authority. But it has not been deemed needful to crowd the pages with references to the works of Christian apologists. The Christian scholar does not need such references; while to those for whose benefit I write, their names carry no authority, and their arguments are generally quite unknown. One great object of my labor will be gained if I shall succeed in awaking the spirit of inquiry among my readers, to such an extent as to load them to a prayerful and patient perusal of several of the works named on the next page. They have heard only one side of the question, and will be surprised at their own ignorance of matters which they ought to have known. Books on the Evidences are not generally circulated. Ministers perhaps have some volumes in their libraries; but in a hundred houses, it would be hard to find half a dozen containing as many as would give an inquiring youth a fair view of the historical evidences of the truth of the gospel. Nor, where they are to be found, are they generally read. Being deemed heavy reading, the magazine, or the newspaper is preferred. Ministers do not in general devote enough of their time to such sound teaching as will stop the mouths of gainsayers. I have been assured by skeptical gentlemen, who in the early part of their lives had attended church regularly for twenty-two years, that during all that time they had never heard a single discourse on the Evidences. Moreover, the protean forms of Infidelity are so various, and many of its present positions so novel, that books or discourses prepared only twenty years ago miss the mark; and rather expose to the charge of misrepresentation, than produce conviction. New books on Infidelity are needed for every generation. The lectures expanded into this volume were delivered in Cincinnati, in 1858. Replying to different, and discordant systems of error, whose only bond is opposition to the gospel, they are necessarily somewhat disconnected. No attempt was made to mold them into a suit of royal armor, but merely to select a few smooth pebbles from the brook of truth, which any Christian lad might sling at the giant defiers of the armies of the living God. Having proved acceptable for this purpose, and a steadily increasing demand for repeated editions wearing out the original plates, the author has been requested by British and American publishers to revise the work in the light of the recent discoveries of science. This he has attempted; with what success the reader will judge. Conscious of its many defects, yet grateful to God for the good which he has done to many souls by its instrumentality, the author again commends the book to the Father of Lights, praying him to use it as a mirror to flash such a ray of light into many dark souls as may lead them into the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. SANFRANCISCO, March 30, 1875. The author having been repeatedly asked by inquirers for the names of books on the Evidences of Christianity, subjoins a list of those easily accessible in the West. It is not supposed that any one inquirer will read all these; but it is well to read more than one, since the evidence is cumulative, and it is impossible for any writer to present the whole. Having a list of several works, the inquirer who can not obtain one may be able to procure another. There are many other works on the Evidences on the shelves of all our principal booksellers. Modern Atheism, by James Buchanan, LL. D. Typical Forms and Special Ends in CreationJames McCosh, LL. D., and George Dickie, M. D., by Religion and Geology, Edward Hitchcock, LL. D. The Architecture of the Heavens, J. P. Nichol, LL. D. The Christian Philosopher, Thomas Dick, LL. D. Natural Theology, William Paley, D. D. The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature, Joseph Butler, D. C. L. The Bridgewater Treatises, Whewell, Chalmers, Kidd, &c. The Comprehensive Commentary, William Jenks, D. D. The Cause and Cure of Infidelity, Rev. David Nelson. A Viewof the Evidences of Christianity, William Paley, D. D. The Eclipse of Faith, ascribed to Henry Rogers. The Restoration of Belief, ascribed to Isaac Taylor. Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity, University of Virginia. The Divine Authority of the Old and NewTestaments Asserted, J. Leland, D. D. The Bible Commentary. An Apology for the Bible, in a Series of Letters to Thomas Paine, R. Watson. A Viewof the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion, S. Jenyns. A Letter to G. West, Esq., on the Conversion of St. Paul, Lord Lyttleton. Observations on the History and Evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Gilbert West, Esq. Difficulties of Infidelity, Faber. Dissertations on the Prophecies, Thos. Newton, D. D. An Introduction to the Critical Study of the Scriptures, T. H. Horne, Vol. I. The Evidences of Christianity, Charles Petit McIlvaine, D. D. Rawlinson's Historical Evidences. Modern Skepticism, by Joseph Barker. Haley's Discrepancies of the Bible, W. G. Holmes, Chicago. The Superhuman Origin of the Bible, Rogers. Christianity and Positivism, McCosh. The Supernatural in Relation to the Natural, McCosh. Aids to Faith, Appleton & Co. Modern Skepticism, Randolph & Son. Modern Doubt, Christlieb. Alexander's Evidences of Christianity. CHAPTER I. DIDTHEWORLDMAKEITSELF? Understand, ye brutish among the people; And, ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall he be not correct? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not know?—PSALMxciv. 8, 9. Has the Creator of the world common sense? Did he know what he was about in making it? Had he any object in view in forming it? Does he know what is going on in it? Does he care whether it answers any purpose or not? Strange questions you will say; yet we need to ask a stranger question: Had the world a
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Creator, or did it make itself? There are persons who say it did, and who declare that the Bible sets out with a lie when it says, that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Whereas, say they, "We know that matter is eternal, and the world is wholly composed of matter; therefore, the heavens and the earth are eternal, never had a beginning nor a Creator." But, however fully the atheist may know that matter is eternal, we do not know any such thing, and must be allowed to ask, How doyouknow? As you are not eternal, we can not take it on your word. The only reason which anybody ever ventured for this amazing assertion is this, that "all philosophers agree[Pg 8] that matter is naturally indestructible by any human power. You may boil water into steam, but it is all there in the steam; or burn coal into gas, ashes, and tar, but it is all in the gas, ashes, and tar; you may change the outward form as much as you please, but you can not destroy the substance of anything. Wherefore, as matter is indestructible, it must be eternal." Profound reasoning! Here is a brick fresh from the kiln. It will last for a thousand years to come; therefore, it has existed for a thousand years past! The foundation of the argument is as rotten as the superstructure. It is not agreed among all philosophers that matter is naturally indestructible, for the very satisfactory reason that none of them can tell what matter in its own nature is. All that they can undertake to say is, that they have observed certain properties of matter, and, among these, that "it is indestructible by any operation to which it can be subjected in the ordinary course of circumstances observed at the surface of the globe."[1] very utmost which any man can assert in this The matter is a negative, a want of knowledge, or a want of power. He can say, "Human power can not destroy matter;" and, if he pleases, he may reason thence that human power did not create it. But to assert that matter is eternal because man can not destroy it, is as if a child should try to beat the cylinder of a steam engine to pieces, and, failing in the attempt, should say, "I am sure this cylinder existed from eternity, because I am unable to destroy it." But not only is the assertion of the eternity of matter unproven, and impossible to be proved, it is capable of the most demonstrable refutation, by one of the recent discoveries of science. The principle of the argument[Pg 9] is so plain that a child of four years old can understand it. It is simply this, that all substances in heaven and earth are compounded of several elements; but no compound can be eternal. We say to our would-be philosophers, When you tell us that matter is eternal, how does that account for the formation of this world? What is this matter you speak of? This world consists not of a philosophical abstraction called matter, nor yet of one substance known by that name, but of a great variety of material substances, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, sulphur, iron, aluminum, and some fifty others already discovered.[2] Now, which of these is the eterna-matter you speak of? Is it iron, or sulphur, or clay, or oxygen? If it is any one of them, where did the others come from? Did a mass of iron, becoming discontented with its gravity, suddenly metamorphose itself into a cloud of gas, or into a pail of water? Or are they all eternal? Have we fifty-seven eternal beings? Are they all eternal in their present combinations? or is it only the single elements that are eternal? You see that your hypothesis—that matter is eternal—gives me no light on the formation of this world, which is not a shapeless mass of a philosophical abstraction called matter, but a regular and beautiful building, composed of a great variety of matters. Was it so from eternity? No man who was ever in a quarry, or a gravel pit, will say so, much less one who has the least smattering of chemistry or geology. Do you assert the eternity of the fifty-seven single substances, either separate or combined in some other way than we now find them in the rocks, and rivers, and atmosphere of the earth? Then how came they to get together at all, and particularly how did they put themselves in their present shapes? Each of them is a piece of matter of whichinertiais a primary and inseparable property. Matterof itselfcan[Pg 10] not begin to move, or assume a quiescent state after being put in motion. Will you tell us that the fifty-seven primary elements danced about till the air, and sea, and earth, somehow jumbled themselves together into the present shape of this glorious and beautiful world, with all its regularity of day and night, and summer and winter, with all its beautiful flowers and lofty trees, with all its variety of birds, and beasts, and fishes? To bring the matter down to the level of the intellect of the most stupid pantheist, tell us in plain English,Did the paving stones make themselves?For the paving stones aremade out of a dozen different chemical constituents, and each one is built up more ingeniously than the house you live in.Now, did the paving stones make themselves? No conviction of the human mind is more certain than the belief that every combination of matter proves the existence of a combiner, that every house has had a builder, and that every machine has had a maker. No matter how simple the combination, if it be only two laths fastened together by a nail, or two bricks cemented with mortar, or the sole of an old pegged boot, all the atheists in the world could not convince you that those two laths, or those two bricks, or those two bits of leather existed in such a combination from all eternity. If any wise philosopher tried to persuade you that for anything you could tell they might have been always so, you would reply, "No, sir! You can't cram such stuff down my throat. Even a child's common sense shows him that those two laths were not always so nailed together; that those two bricks were not always so placed, one on the top of the other; and that those two pieces of old sole leather were not always pegged together in the sole of a boot." There is no conviction more irresistible than our belief thatno compound can possibly be eternal.[Pg 11] But the universe is the greatest of all compounds. Everything in it is compound. Chemists speak of simple substances, or elements of matter, and it is well enough to separate the elements of things in our thoughts, for the sake of distinct consideration, and to speak of the properties of pure oxygen, or of pure hydrogen, or of pure carbon, or of pure gold, or of pure iron, or of pure silver. But then we should always remember that there is nothing pure in the world, that there is no such thing in nature as any substance consisting only of a single element, pure and uncombined with others. Just as your gold eagle is not pure gold, but alloyed with copper, everything in nature is alloyed. Everything in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, and in the waters under the earth, is compound. The air you breathe, simple as it seems, is composed of three gases, and is besides full of what Huxley calls "a stirabout" of millions of seeds of animalculæ and motes of dust visible in the sunbeam. That hydrant water you are about to swallow is a rich aquarium full of all manner of monsters, which the oxy-hydrogen microscope will exhibit to your terrified gaze, devouring each other alive. Should you get rid of them by evaporating your water, your chemist will tell you that still your pure water must be a compound of oxygen and hydrogen. There is no help for it. Many years ago some astronomers fancied they had found clouds, or nebulæ, of gas, quite simple and uncompounded with anything else, a great many millions of miles away in the sky. They were so very far away that they thought nobody would ever be able to fly so far to bottle up a specimen of that gas and bring it back here to earth and analyze it, to find out whether it was pure and simple, or compound. So they felt quite safe in affirming that there was the genuine, simple, homogeneous gas, in the nebulæ, with which Almighty God had[Pg 12] nothing whatever to do, but which had first made itself and then had condensed into our present world. But unfortunately for this brilliant discovery the spectroscope opened windows into the nebulæ, and showed very plainly that they were on fire; and fire is a compound; it can not burn without fuel and something to support the combustion; so that settled the alleged simplicity of the nebulæ. It is now demonstrated, therefore, that every known substance existing in nature is a compound, and therefore can not be eternal. And the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. No number of finite existences can be eternal. The universe, then, can not be eternal. Suppose, however, that, for the sake of argument, we should grant our atheistic world-builder his materials, away off beyond the rings of Saturn, or the orbit of Uranus (since he seems to like to have his quarries a good way off from his building), would he be any nearer the completion of his world-making? As Cornwallis declared that the conquest of India resolved itself ultimately into a question of bullocks, the prime consideration in the construction of the world, after you have got your materials, is that of transportation. When one beholds the three great stones in the temple of Baalbec, each weighing eleven hundred tons, built into the wall twenty feet high, and a fourth in the quarry, a mile away, nearly ready for removal, he asks, "How did the builders move those immense stones, and raise them to their places?" And when we behold the quarry out of which these stones were taken, and all the other quarries of the world, and all the everlasting mountains, and the whole of this solid earth, and boundless sea, brought, as our theorists affirm, from far beyond the orbit of the most distant planet, we raise the question of transportation, and demand some account of the wagon and team which hauled them to their places. We can not get rid of the necessity for[Pg 13] transportation by evaporating the building stones into gas, for a world of gas weighs just as many tons as the world made out of it. Before we can make a world we must havepower; but we can never get power out of the world to build itself. The atheists' world is only a great machine. The first law of mechanics is that action and reaction are equal; consequently machinery can never create power. You will never lift yourself by pulling at your boot-straps; much less can a machine lift and carry itself. It is no matter how big you make the wheels of your machine, as big as the orbits of the planets if you like, still it is only a machine, unless it has a mind in it; and your big machine can no more create power than a little machine as small as a lady's watch. Nor does it make the least difference in respect to making power, of what materials your perpetual motion peddler makes his machine—whether of a skein of silk on a reel in a bottle, or of steel and zinc electro magnets running upon diamond points, or whether he melts up his steel, and zinc, and diamonds into red hot fire mist; it is still only a machine, made of these materials, as destitute of power as the smaller machines made out of it. The atheists' universe is only a big machine, and no machine can create power, no more than a paving stone. It has been, however, proposed to manufacture power by the law of gravitation, according to which all bodies attract each other, directly in proportion to their mass, and inversely as the square of their distances. This law appears to prevail as far as our observation extends through space; and our world builders affirm that it must have operated eternally, and that not only were the separate parts of our earth thus drawn together, but that all the orbs of heaven were caused to revolve under its influence. Suppose, however, we grant that matter was eternal, and the force of gravitation eternally operating upon it,[Pg 14] would that sufficiently account for the building up of even our own little planetary system? By no means. The unresisted force of gravitation would, in far less than an eternity, draw all things together toward the center of gravity of the universe. We should not have separate stars, and suns, and planets, and moons, revolving in orderly orbits, but one vast mass of matter, in which all motion had long since ceased. There must be some power of resistance to gravitation, and nicely balanced against it, a centrifugal force—no matter whether you call it heat, light, or electricity, or by any other name—from which balance of power the movements of the universe are regulated. But here again we arrive at the same conclusion from the balance of power to which we were before driven by the combination of matter—regulated power proclaims a regulator, a governor. Power belongeth unto God. In world-building we need not only a quarry of materials, and power for transportation, but a head to plan their arrangement. For, as ten thousand loads of brick and stone dumped down higgledy piggledy will not build a house, neither will ten thousand millions of materials poured into a chaos make a world like this earth, arranged in order and beauty. It is grossly absurd to imagine that the inanimate materials of the earth arranged themselves in their present orderly structure. Absurd as it seems to every man of common sense, there are persons claiming to be philosophers who not only assert that they did, but will tell you how they did it. One class of them think they have found it out by supposing every thing in the universe reduced to very fine powder, consisting of very small grains, which they call atoms; or, if that is not fine enough, into gas, of which it is supposed the particles are too fine to be perceived; and then by different arrangements of these atoms, according to the laws of attraction and[Pg 15] electricity, the various elements of the world were made, and arranged in its present form. Suppose we grant this gassy supposition, that the world millions of ages ago existed as a cloud of atoms, does that bring us any nearer the object of getting rid of a Creator than before? The atoms must be material, if a material world is to be made from them; and so they must be extended; each one of them must have length, breadth and thickness. The atheist, then, has only multiplied his difficulties a million times, by pounding up the world into atoms, which are only little bits of the paving stones he intends to make out of them. Each bit of the paving stone, no matter how small you break it, remains just as incapable of making itself, or moving itself, as was the whole stone composed of all these bits. So we are landed back again at the sublime question,Did the paving stones make themselves, and move themselves? Others will tell you that millions of years ago the world existed as a vast cloud of fire mist, which, after a long time, cooled down into granite, and the granite, by dint of earthquakes, got broken up on the surface, and washed with rain into clay and soil, whence plants sprang up of their own accord, and the plants gradually grew into animals of various kinds, and some of the animals grew into monkeys, and finally the monkeys into men. The fire mist they stoutly affirm to have existed from eternity. They do not allege that they remember that (and yet as they themselves are, as they say, composed body and soul of this eternal fire mist, they ought to remember), but only that there are certain comets which occasionally come within fifty or sixty millions of miles of this earth, which they suppose may be composed of the fire mist which theysupposethis world is made of. A solid basis, truly, on which to build a world! A cloud in the sky, fifty million of miles away, may possibly be fire mist, may possibly cool down and condense into a solid globe; therefore, this fire mist is[Pg 16] eternal, and had no need of a Creator; and our world, and all other worlds, may possibly have been like it;
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